The Marsh of time: the saving of Sutton Common

Robert Van de Noort, Henry Chapman, 2010

Data copyright © University of Exeter, University of Hull unless otherwise stated

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Prof Robert Van de Noort
Department of Archaeology
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Robert Van de Noort, Henry Chapman (2010) The Marsh of time: the saving of Sutton Common [data-set]. York: Archaeology Data Service [distributor]

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'Sutton Common' is the name used by the Ordnance Survey for three fields centred on SE563122, approximately 500 m to the south of Askern Town, 8 km north of Doncaster in South Yorkshire. The village of Sutton and its Common form now part of the Parish of Norton and Campsall. The name has also been used for an Iron Age period site here formed by two 'enclosures', which are dissected by a palaeochannel named the Hampole Beck.

This project describes the results of the large-scale excavations undertaken on the larger enclosure between 1998 and 2003, which have provided unparalleled insights into the function and meaning of this 4th-century BC 'marsh-fort'. Sutton Common is described as a place where the social identity of the local community was reinforced through the construction of the physical representation of the idea of community, using a bank-and-ditch arrangement that resembles the defences used elsewhere, particularly at hillforts. No houses were found within the enclosure, but some 150 four-post structures were excavated, many containing deposits of charred grain in one or two of their postholes. This well-dated site makes significant contributions to the debates on prehistoric enclosure, cosmology, food storage, and mortuary practices in prehistoric Britain and Europe.

The excavations were carried out by the Universities of Exeter (Department of Archaeology) and Hull (Wetlands Archaeology and Environments Research Centre), thereto funded by English Heritage. The excavation formed part of a wider programme of site management and research.

Analysis of the organic archaeological remains at Sutton Common was undertaken as a PhD by James Cheetham, a digital vesion of which is held as an ADS collection.